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And I Scream

My son is watching a movie. He is very upset. He doesn't understand why the good guys are losing. "They are supposed to win, mommy. They are supposed to win," he says. "Keep watching," I tell him. "Sometimes it takes a little while for the good guys to win."
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I put my children to bed. Their chubby little faces peek out from under their fuzzy blankets. I listen to the steady flow of their breath. Sweet, sweet sleeping babies.

More killed. Bullets slam into their bodies. They were sitting in their classroom in Oregon. Classrooms, movie theaters, churches.

As I make my children breakfast, my son asks me for chocolate. " We don't eat chocolate for breakfast. You need to eat something healthy," I say. This is our part of our daily routine, and part of my battle against sweets. "I want you to grow up big and strong," I tell him. You need to put good things in your body. It's important to take care of yourself."

The teen grabs her popcorn and soda. Sits down in her seat next to her friends. "Finally!" she thinks to herself. My first late night movie. Her father, waiting at home, yawns and checks the clock. Still an hour and a half before he picks up his daughter. He sits down on the couch to wait.

Gunshots.

But it's not a scene in the movie.

The teen huddles under the seat, screaming. Crying. Help, help. She can't hide. Where can she hide? Why aren't the gunshots stopping? There is blood and screaming and crying and everyone is pushing themselves under the seats, forcing their bodies to lay still. Willing their shaking bodies to quiet and not move. Please don't let him see me, she pleads to herself. Please don't let him kill me. Play dead, she thinks. Play dead. She tries to stifle her tears. Something hurts. Play dead. Daddy, she thinks. Daddy, come and help me. Please. Why is this happening? The bullets keep coming. The gunshots don't stop.

In Colorado 2012:

Jonathan Blunk shielded his girlfriend from the shots. He was shot to death in a movie theater.

Alexander Boik's uncle said that he had a huge personality. He was shot to death in a movie theater.

Jesse Childress's father said that he had a big heart. He was shot to death in a movie theater.

Gordon Cowden had a bottomless sense of humor. He was shot to death in a movie theater.

Jessica Ghawi was an aspiring Sports Reporter. She was shot to death in a movie theater

John Larimer shielded his girlfriend from the shots. He was shot to death in a movie theater.

Matt McQuinn shielded his girlfriend and her brother from the shots. He was shot to death in a movie theater.

Micayla Medek was known for her radiant spirit and infectious laughter. She was shot to death in a movie theater.

Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6 Years Old, loved to play. She was shot to death in a movie theater.

Alex Sullivan was shot to death on his 27th birthday.

Alexander Teves's girlfriend changed her last name after he died in order to honor him. He was shot to death in a movie theater.

Rebecca Ann Wingo was described as fearless. She was shot to death in a movie theater.

In Lafayette 2015:

Mayci Breaux planned to graduate and marry. She was shot to death in a movie theater.

Jillian Johnson was described as an incredible stepmom. She was shot to death in a movie theater.

My daughter fell down again. She is crying. This is the second time today that she has fallen. I tell her not to wear her crocs because her sneakers are better. She won't fall down in her sneakers. They are more secure. But she tells me that her crocs are her favorite shoes. She loves her crocs. She "promises" me that she won't fall down again.

It didn't matter what shoes their children were wearing. The parents dropped their kids off, tired from a rough night of sleeping, hungry because they had to run out of the house, and then they headed to work for another typical day. Maybe one of the mothers forgot to pack snack that day and she thought about it as she ran to the train. "I will have to email the teacher," she thinks to herself. "I hope they have something there for him to eat." As parents, we don't want our children to be hungry. We want them to be comfortable, fed, content with life and with who they are.

We want everything for our children.

We want more than who we are and better than what we have seen.

We want them happier. Stronger.

Those parents dropped their children at school on an otherwise innocuous day.

Those parents dropped their children at school on an otherwise innocuous day.

Newton, Conneticut 2012:

Charlotte Bacon, 6 Years Old, loved having her hair in "piggies" or pigtails. She was shot to death at her elementary school.

Daniel Barden, 7 Years Old, loved to hold open doors for people. He was shot to death at his elementary school.

Olivia Engel, 6 Years Old, was a smart, bubbly Yankee fan. She was shot to death at her elementary school.

Josephine Gay, 7 Years Old, loved to play with her Barbie dolls and her sisters. She was shot to death at her elementary school.

Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6 Years Old, didn't walk places. She danced to them. She was shot to death at her elementary school.

Dylan Hockley, 6 Years Old, flapped his arms when he was happy or excited because, as he said it, he was a beautiful butterfly. He was shot to death at his elementary school.

Madeline F. Hsu, 6 Years Old, was said to be a beautiful and sweet little girl. She was shot to death at her elementary school.

Catherine V. Hubbard, 6 Years Old, loved animals, even designing business cards for "Catherine's Animal Shelter." She was shot to death at her elementary school.

Chase Kowalski, 7 Years Old, loved to run and play baseball. He was shot to death at his elementary school.

Jesse Lewis, 6 Years Old, could often be found running around in his boots, no socks, army helmet on his head and dirt on his cheek. Looking for adventure. He was shot to death at his elementary school.

James Mattioli, 6 Years Old, loved to sing. He was shot to death at his elementary school.

Grace McDonnell, 7 Years Old, loved peace and drawing peace signs. She was shot to death in her elementary school.

Emilie Parker, 6 Years Old, was a fierce protector. She was shot to death in her elementary school.

Jack Pinto, 6 Years Old, was a Giants fan. He was shot to death at his elementary school.

Noah Pozner, 6 Years Old, loved animals and Mario Brothers games. He was shot to death at his elementary school.

Caroline Previdi, 6 Years Old, refused to attend a game at Fenway Park. Because she was a Yankees fan. She was shot to death in her elementary school.

Jessica Rekos, 6 Years Old, loved Orca whales. She was shot to death in her elementary school.

Avielle Richman, 6 Years Old, loved her barbies as much as she did her superheroes. She was shot to death in her elementary school.

Benjamin Wheeler, 6 Years Old, loved lighthouses. He was shot to death in his elementary school.

Allison N. Wyatt, 6 Years Old, wanted to be an artist. She was shot to death in her elementary school.

And the adults who dedicated their lives to the education of these children in Newtown, Conneticut:

Mary Sherlach, 56 Years Old, was described as a problem solver. She was shot to death at her place of work.

Victoria Soto, 27 Years Old, placed her students in a closet to protect them. She was shot to death at her place of work.

Anne Marie Murphy, 52 Years Old, is remembered as a selfless human being. She was shot to death at her place of work.

Lauren Rousseau, 30 Years Old, loved music, dance and theater. She was shot to death at her place of work.

Dawn Hochsprung, 47 Years Old, tried to take the gunman down. She was shot to death at her place of work.

Rachel Davino, 29 Years Old, was a loving and caring teacher. She was shot to death at her place of work.

40 People. I just typed up the names of 40 people (21 of them under the age of 8) whose families never get to see them again. They left behind their parents, their husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, neighbors, grandparents, children. People who they met for a moment and people who would have been by their sides for a lifetime. These individuals had loves and interests and personality quirks and dreams and millions of moments where they laughed and smiled and cried and taught and learned and made the world more special for those who knew them. And millions of other moments that have been stolen from them.

There are hundreds of other mass murders that aren't listed here, most recently in Oregon. Over 295 mass shootings this year. When does this list end? How does it end?

I may not know how to end this list, but I am positive of one thing. It doesn't end by doing nothing.

As a mother, a daughter, a friend, a neighbor, a sister, a wife, a cousin, an aunt, a person who has met people for a moment that have changed me forever and has known people forever that make me better in every moment, I scream.

I SCREAM.

Change our laws.

Fix our loopholes.

Protect our children.

Protect our families.

Don't just do SOMETHING.

Do EVERYTHING.

And if EVERYTHING doesn't work.

Then do more.

My son is watching a movie. He is very upset. He doesn't understand why the good guys are losing. "They are supposed to win, mommy. They are supposed to win," he says. "Keep watching," I tell him. "Sometimes it takes a little while for the good guys to win." "When the movie ends, I ask him, "Did the good guys win in the end?"

He answers emphatically. Assured that all is right in the world again.

"YES. THE GOOD GUYS WON."